Pacquiao’s last hurrah? PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 18 April 2018 12:05

LOOKING IN

BY ROD BALBON

Never in the annals of Philippine boxing had we produced an elite boxer like Manny Pacquiao. He is one of a kind and I can rightly state, without fear of contradiction, that nobody has yet been born to take his place. His punches packed power that sent many of his opponents down on all fours. His left hooks are devastating. His short punches packs power that can weaken his strong adversaries as the rounds go the distance. His quick and fleet-footed movements put his opponents off-balance and become easy targets. He docks and weaves, always creating never-ending attacking opportunities. He throws rapid fire three to five hard punches whenever he corners his opponents. Aside from these, Pacquiao has the stamina that can sustain his power and speed for the full twelve (12) rounds in a championship fight. He doesn’t clinch and backs out. His style is really different and entertaining—a sight to behold.

For five times, I watched him fighting in championship bouts in Las Vegas, punishing and devastating his opponents until the final bell. After all the beatings they have received from Pacquiao, almost all of them went into retirement. African undefeated featherweight king Lehwaba was demolished by Pacquiao in five rounds and became the new WBC world featherweight champion. He demolished the feared Barrera and Morales in a trilogy. He put down known welterweight champions like Ruiz, Hatton, Margarito, De La Hoya, Bradley and Mosley.

For me, his best fight was against Hatton. He demolished and knocked the British fighter from his senses in just two rounds. The poor guy was laying totally unconscious inside the ring for several minutes and was later wheeled to the hospital for check-up. This guy and de la Hoya, who was stopped in the ninth round, later became drug dependents, unable to erase the punishments and shame they suffered because of their defeats.

But thereafter, Pacquiao started to unwind and suffered his defeat against the Australian Jeff Horn in a championship fight in Australia. For me he won the fight but the judges’ scorecards spelled a hometown decision. Pacquiao could have knocked out Horn in the fifth canto and in the ninth. But very noticeably, he has lost his killer punches and was throwing only one-two punches that could hardly find their targets. His fleet-footedness was lost and he lacked stamina. All these can only be attributed to his advancing age.

Boxing is a cruel sport and one has to be in super tip-top shape when fighting in a championship fight. Pacquiao lost all these.

Now his back into the limelight for a WBA welterweight fight against Argentine Lucas Matthysse this coming July 15 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Argentine has stopped 36 opponents in a total of 39 wins while incurring only four losses. He says that he wields enough power to knock out the Filipino eight-division champion and send him into retirement. He knows that by knocking out Pacquiao, many offers and bountiful opportunities will come his way. It will “open the doors of heaven”, he confidently bragged.

This is an “all or nothing” confrontasi and Matthysse, though aware of Pacquiao’s sterling fight record, knows that the latter is far from his peak form at the age of 39 years old. He has no full and proper training and is preoccupied with his legislative duties as an elected senator and has not fought for one year since losing to Australian Jeff Horn.

To fight the aficionados and analysts, Pacquiao’s bundle of power punches has dwindled, the reason why he hasn’t knock out his opponents since stopping Miguel Cotto.

I’ve watched the previous fights of Matthysse and no doubt, the 35 year old fighter is a very hard puncher. The question is: can Pacquiao withstand his hard punches?

Well, Pacquiao thinks that he can defeat Matthysse and become a world WBA welterweight champion again, totally forgetting that he’s getting old and has lost his speed, punching power, and stamina. He should have hanged his gloves when he was elected as a senator of the land. But as they say, once a boxer is always a boxer. I pick Matthysse to win the fight and this coming duel might be Pacquiao’s last hurrah and ticket for retirement.